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Turkish daily Cumhuriyet stirs outcry by firing 8 unionized journalists

Photo: Kurtuluş Arı / Cumhuriyet

Cumhuriyet, one of Turkey’s oldest newspapers, has fired eight of its employees who were members of the Journalists’ Union, stirring public outcry. (Update on Dec. 11: The newspaper management reinstated the employees after reactions.)  

Journalists and press freedom advocates organized a protest in front of Cumhuriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul on Nov. 30, hours after the newspaper management fired eight of its employees, including managing editors and reporters.

“Although the Cumhuriyet management cited financial reasons, it should not be a coincidence that all the dismissed personnel were our members,” Turkey’s Journalists’ Union (TGS) said in a statement during the protest, calling on the newspaper to retract the decision.

Reminding that a collective labor agreement was signed with Cumhuriyet only two weeks ago, TGS stressed the layoff showed that the newspaper’s management “continues its anti-union policies.”

Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Aykut Küçükkaya said during the protest that the board’s decision was taken without his consent. Calling on the board to retract the decision and reinstate the laid-off employees, Küçükkaya added that he would “continue to support the struggle of the journalists who were fired.”

Consequently, Küçükkaya was also fired by the board of the Cumhuriyet Foundation that controls the newspaper.

Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Aykut Küçükkaya joined the protest at the newspaper’s headquarters in Istanbul on Nov. 30 to support the journalists who were dismissed by the board. (Photo: Kurtuluş Arı / Cumhuriyet)

Update on Dec. 11: The newspaper management said it reinstated the eight employees after reactions. Editor-in-chief Aykut Küçükkaya, however, was replaced by Arif Kızılyalın.

Further reading: Turkey’s Journalists’ Union warns of strike at AFP as talks for collective agreement stall

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